Pentecost 5, June 24, 2018

Title:Pentecost 5, June 24, 2018

 Pentecost 5, June 24, 2018 (full size gallery)


We had two services on the last Sunday of the month – only 4 in attendance at 9am, Eucharist Rite 1 but 31 at 11am, Morning Prayer. Weather was a concern with all the rain this past week. The pictures show the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg on Sat. and then some pictures at Port Royal on Sunday. One could not easily get on the pier. We enjoyed some welcome sunshine but it was very humid.

We had a wonderful Nature Hike this week and served 100 of the community in the June Village Harvest food distribution.

Next week we move from Outreach to Inreach with "One Day" to meet with congregation shut-ins as a group. This is perfectly suited for a small church On Thursday, June 28th we meet at church at 1PM. From 1-1:30PM, we’ll pray for those we plan to visit. At 2PM, visitors will head out to pay visits, and all will return to church by 4PM for a time of reflection on the visit and prayer for those with whom we’ve spent time

Today’s readings remind and reaffirm God’s complete command over all creation. God’s reply to Job asserts the majesty of God as the Creator and Ruler of the world. Paul commends the ministry of reconciliation to all Christians. In the gospel, Jesus stills a storm at sea, revealing that he shares God’s power over creation.

The book of Job struggles with the mystery of why good people suffer when they ought to be rewarded for their good.

The basic story found in the prose sections that begin and end the book (1:1–2:13, 42:7-17) tells of the righteous sufferer, the proverbial ‘patient Job’ (Ezekiel 14:14, 20; James 5:11). This story may have been set down in writing as early as the time of David and Solomon (1000–800 BCE).

Speaking out of profound faith, Job has asserted his innocence and challenged God to answer him (31:35-40) and account for his suffering. In today’s reading, the Lord speaks from the whirlwind in fulfillment of Job’s longing (13:22, 23:5, 30:20). Although God vindicates Job’s innocence and denounces the dogmatism of his friends (42:7-17), God’s ways are not to be comprehended. The result is a kind of stand off. God does not give Job the explanation he wants, and Job does not surrender his own integrity. Rather, Job yields to the Lord and is transformed by his experience of confrontation (42:5).

We passed Midsummer’s Night this week with June 21 being the summer solstice. The celebration began in Christian times when it was believed that forces could slip between this world and the next at a time when there was more light than at any time of the year. Fires were lit to ward off the evil spirits. We may think of Midsummer’s Night in terms of Shakespeare’s play of the same name. The play has a number of subplots, one being the brawl of the ferries, Oberon and Titania based on a lack of recognition for the other in the relationship which creates a disturbance in nature.

The Gospel this week (June 24, 2018) from the Gospel of Mark 4:35-41 depicts Jesus and the disciples in a boat on a storm in the Sea of Galilee. Now this is a disturbance of nature!

What lessons can we gain from this story in this Midsummer’s Night?

1. Be ready to undertake a new mission or new direction in our lives.

In our Gospel text Jesus sets the direction for the journey,"Let us go across to the other side." They were going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The mission was there to do the same thing they had done for the Gentiles they had done for the Jews – teach about the Kingdom of God, heal and worship and gather disciples. This was a bold step as they were moving across religious boundaries. We can’t ignore new possibilities, either but be aware there are storms in undertaking any new direction. Mark’s community found the same thing.

2. Understand our resources when we do move in a new direction.

The anxiety of the disciples appeared when the storms arose, partly because they were not considering all their resources, particularly the best one, Jesus. Their opinion of Jesus goes from someone "just as he was" to amazement as " even the wind and the sea obey him." Jesus’ demonstration of power over nature to calm the storm is another indication that Jesus’ ministry participates in God’s power

3. “Peace! Be still!”

After undertaking a new direction and gathering resources, have faith that you have done your best and find a sense a satisfaction. That’s the inner disposition we need. It may not be natural but we need to develop it.

The great storm is a test of what the disciples have learned from Jesus’ teaching. Mark recounts that Jesus grew increasingly impatient with the presumption of his disciples that he would simply perform a divine act and in every instance relieve them of their fear. They seemed to completely ignore that they also had responsibilities. They had an obligation to endure and to find inner calm through faith.

So how do we make this "stillness" work ? One way is not to make these decisions or face obstacles in a vacuum but seek out others whom you believe can help or just merely listen. Mr. Rogers’ mom always told him "to look for the helpers." Why? Jesus lives inside all of us – we all have a piece. In 2 Corinthians 13, Paul asks the Corinthian believers a question: “Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” In the end you may find that "Your faith has saved you” as Jesus says to a sinful woman in Luke’s Gospel.

Lutheran minister David Lose writes this week "Rather, faith is about a relationship, a relationship with the God revealed by the ministry and words and actions of Jesus…And trust, in the end, is the only thing that overcomes fear. "

The sermon looked at God’s power in relation to the readings. "God’s power is unfathomable, mysterious, and endless. But the most electrifying thing about God’s power is that God does not hoard power. God shares all that power! With us!"

"But we are the only disciples Jesus has got right now. And so you better believe that God is going to share God’s power with us, because God has not given up on God’s kingdom coming on earth! And God has not given up on you! Or me!

"We say that we believe that God will help us carry out the things we are called to do as Christians—as Bishop Shannon reminded us at the Church Vitality Day yesterday, our baptismal vows spell out our callings,

"And, if we are listening, we will hear Jesus call us to go with him to the other side—as Pastor Steve puts it in his poem entitled The Other Side—Jesus will call us to go with him to “The other side of the tracks. The other side of the border. The other side of life. Beyond the familiar, the safe, the manageable. The other side of the argument. Another viewpoint. The other side of the conflict. The other side of yourself. The other side of the veil. The unseen.”

"Don’t be afraid. Take the power God is trying to give you. And then go boldly to the other side, wherever that is, to bring new life and the beginnings of the kingdom of God.

"Don’t be afraid. Jesus will go with you. After all, going to the other side was his idea all along."

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